Darcy Regier is among the list of NHL general managers in Toronto this week observing the League’s Research, Development and Orientation Camp.
The event is being used to test potential rule changes that could be implemented in the future, using prospects that are eligible for next year’s NHL Draft.
“It’s a pretty special camp when you get the opportunity to see the quality of players that are going to be in next year’s draft, and some rule changes that I think have been packaged very nicely,” Regier said.
Ideas being experimented with range from bigger creases and wider bluelines to a variety of overtime modifications; including 3-on-3 and 2-on-2 scenarios.
One of the other major proposals gaining some praise at the camp is the hybrid icing call. The rule would give the linesman the option of calling icing before a defending player touches the puck, provided that the opposing player was not close enough to beat him to it [with the faceoff dot in the endzone acting as a guide]. The principle is currently used in the United States Hockey League and is aimed at reducing the number of injuries sustained when crashing into the endboards to gain possession of a loose puck.
Regier agreed that it was an intriguing possibility.
“I like things like the icing call. I think it’s a good hybrid,” he said. “It covers the safety aspect but keeps the competitiveness in icing. I would also point to the depth of the nets.”
Potential draft picks at camp tested out nets that were four inches shallower
than NHL regulation-size nets. The added space could lead to more creativity.
“I would be curious after looking at, and I think you would only know by looking at the video, the ability to make plays from behind the net with the shallower net may have come into play,” Regier said. “If that helps, that’s great.
“I think you have to look at things over a period of time, but the best part is you used to have to just conceptualize it. Now you’re actually seeing it.
It's not the first time the League has held such a camp. In 2005 the NHL held a similar event in Toronto, but used hockey players that were mostly overage. Having young players take part in it this time around adds a different dynamic for the League's spectators.
"We’re in the position to look at it and say ok so this is what it would look like. I think there’s a huge advantage for anybody looking at our game, or looking for ways to improve our game.”
Regier and the League’s general managers will continue to evaluate this week. In the meantime, check out the list below of some other proposed rule changes from NHL.com: